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Based on a novel by Kristin Hannah, Netflix's Firefly Lane tracks 30 years of Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate's (Sarah Chalke) friendship.
The show makes it seem as if Tully is going to die—but it's all a set-up.
The finale reveals Tully's fate and raises another question: What did she do to cause a fight with Kate? Below, we'll answer all of your burning queries about the Firefly Lane finale.
Netflix's Firefly Lane is ostensibly heartwarming show about the decades-long friendship between two women, Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey, played by Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke. So why does the series proceed with an undercurrent of dread, as if something terrible is about to happen to one of its main characters?
Blame the final minutes of the first episode, which seem to be set at Tully's funeral. Kate and her daughter, Marah (Yael Yurman), both wearing black, speak about how much they miss their friend. For the rest of the show, audiences are plagued by a nagging thought: Does Tully die?
Well, the finale of Netflix's Firefly Lane confirms that Tully is, in fact, alive—but isn't on speaking terms with Kate. The funeral is actually for Kate's father. When Tully arrives, Kate turns her away outside the church.
Firefly Lane's finale, "Auld Lang Syne," doesn't offer any resolutions. Rather, the hour-long episode sets up multiple cliffhangers to be resolved in the (still unconfirmed) second season. Does Johnny Ryan (Ben Lawson) die in Iraq? Why are Tully and Kate fighting? What did Tully do? Below, the cast of Firefly Lane answers our burning questions about the finale.
Wait, so Tully doesn't die in Firefly Lane?
Nope. Tully is alive—but she's "dead to Kate" in the metaphorical sense. After 30 years of friendship, some event transpired that caused a major rift between the best friends.
Instead of showing us what happened, though, Firefly Lane has Tully and Kate allude to the event in a vague conversation set after Kate's father's funeral. For the first time while speaking to Tully, Kate's face is one of utter disgust. "No one wants you here," she says. Tully responds, "Don't you think you've punished me enough?" Kate's final line is practically rimmed in ice: "When I say I couldn't forgive you for what you did, what do you think that meant?"
So, what did Tully do to cause a lasting fight with Kate?
Clearly, Firefly Lane's more pressing question isn't whether Tully died—it's what did Tully do? Speaking to OprahMag.com, Katherine Heigl expresses the hope that the friends' fight has nothing to do with the women's love triangle with Johnny Ryan (Ben Lawson). "It cannot be that Tully sleeps with Johnny. I don't think any friendship would come back from that. I will fight to the death that it not be that," Heigl says, laughing.
Kristin Hannah's book, Firefly Lane, may offer a clue into the source of the women's tension. At one point, Tully invites Kate and Marah onto her popular talkshow, The Girlfriend Hour, to discuss their fraying relationship. On air, Tully surprises Kate with a different segment than she expected. On camera, Tully says, "Today we're talking about overprotective mothers and the teenage daughters who hate them." She then introduces a psychologist who claims that "controlling, domineering mothers" like Kate can "damage their children's fragile psyches."
Essentially, Tully insinuates that Kate is a terrible mother in front of a live TV audience. According to Heigl, showrunner Maggie Friedman isn't confident the incident is "strong enough" to have broken the duo apart. But for Heigl, Tully's actions in the novel absolutely constitute a betrayal.
"Tully was trying to help but in a really thoughtless way that was all about Tully. She doesn't realize that she's publicly humiliating her friend on live television, and at the same time, taking the 14-year-old's side. That would be enough to put a serious rift in the friendship," Heigl, who is a mother of three, says.
Moving on. Does Johnny die in Firefly Lane?
Tully and Kate aren't the only characters whose lives are upended in the finale of Firefly Lane. If anything, the character we should most be concerned for is Johnny. While covering the war in Iraq as a correspondent, Johnny is thrown into the air by a bomb. The last we see of him, he's staring up at the sky, completely motionless.
Along with Kate and Johnny's divorce, this incident does not occur in the book. As a result, it's impossible to say definitively whether Johnny survives. That said, the book makes us hopeful: Johnny moseys through the entirety of Firefly Lane and its sequel, Fly Away, completely alive.
Speaking to OprahMag.com, Lawson is excited by the prospect of appearing in season 2. "The cliffhanger in season 1 is about halfway through the book. There's plenty to go just in the first novel. Hopefully audiences tune in and we can delve into it," Lawson says.
Wait, so...does anyone die in Firefly Lane?
To recap: Tully's definitely fine. Johnny's probably fine. So why do we still feel a sense of dread? Well, this is where Firefly Lane's major twist comes in. If Hannah's novel remains a guide for the series, then Kate and her loved ones will be be thrown a traumatic curveball in season 2. To learn more, check out our book spoilers.
"We've gotten to see part of Kate's journey in season 1, going from this vulnerable, shy, awkward kid who's trying to please everyone else, to coming into her own and making strong decisions in her life. I'm curious to see what happens now," Chalke says. We are, too.
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